Primary tabs

Letter from General Washington to General Schuyler



Cambridge, March 19, 1776.

DEAR SIR: The 17th instant Mr˙ Bennett handed me your favour of the 9th. It mortifies me beyond expression to find the troops going to Canada so badly provided with arms. I have so often mentioned the situation we are in from the same cause, that I shall not trouble you more thereon; indeed, your letters and mine seem echoes to each other — enumerating our mutual difficulties. Should success crown our labours, the reflection will not be disgraceful. A short detail of what has happened here since I wrote you last will, I dare say, afford you pleasure. The night of the 4th instant we possessed ourselves of Dorchester Heights, which alarmed the enemy so much that they made their dispositions to engage us; which was what I most earnestly wished for. But a violent storm coming on the evening of the 5th, gave us time to strengthen our works, and cooled the enemy' s ardour. From that moment they made all possible diligence in preparing to move off. Our advancing still closer to them on the 16th (by taking post on an eminence called Nook' s Hill, which commands their works on the neck of land which separates the town from Roxbury, and also commands the south part of Boston) has obliged the enemy to take to their ships, which, rather precipitately, they effected on the 17th, in the morning, leaving behind them about thirty pieces of excellent cannon and two mortars, (spiked,) a number of ball, some shells, the chief part of their light-horse, forage, twenty thousand bushels of wheat, two thousand five hundred chaldron of coal, salt, rugs, and blankets, with many other articles too tedious to mention. The ships now lie below the Castle, extending themselves to Nantasket Road, about nine miles. I do not expect that they will pay us another visit; though, as a number of transports have appeared this morning to have joined them, they may be tempted; which will prevent my sending off any more troops until they quit the harbour. It is uncertain where they may go from hence. Long-Island or New-York is, in my opinion, the place of their destination.

I have sent off a Rifle Regiment and five battalions to New-York; and, when I can be certain of their having fairly left these parts, I shall remove the rest of the Army there, where I shall have great pleasure to meet you in tolerable health.

The return of the troops with General Arnold is received; also, the depositions respecting Colonel Alien' s usage, which has been very cruel.

I am in hopes we shall be able to collect some hard money from the inhabitants of Boston. If we do, you shall soon be informed thereof.

Application has been made to the Commissary (Mr˙ Chamier) relative to the subsistence of the prisoners in our possession; which, I believe, is settled with David Franks, of Philadelphia.

I remain, &c˙,